People & Human Resources

Finding the right candidate: Research reveals 35% of bad hires lie on CVs

Matthew Elmas /

bad hire

Whereto co-founders (right to left) Fiona Hughes, Charles Coulton and Catherine Boekel (far left). Source: Supplied

Since founding Whereto Research in 2015, Fiona Hughes, Charles Coulton and Catherine Boekel have managed to build a client list worth more than $5 million with their bespoke consultancy.

But with growth comes challenge, particularly when the size of a business more than doubles in the space of three years, and before long Whereto had become one of the 99% of businesses who have made a bad hire.

As Coulton has explained, the co-founders neglected to plan ahead for adding more staff, forcing them to recruit in a rush.

“We made the mistake of hiring people when we desperately needed them, rather than taking the time and effort to find people who fit our business,” he said.

Whereto had to replace the hires in question and mend some destroyed fences, coming away with an invaluable lesson about hiring for the long term.

“Building the right team is unquestionably one of the most important and most challenging parts of any business but this is amplified when you are a fast-growing business,” Hughes tells SmartCompany.

“Using traditional hiring methods may not work as well for you if you are more nimble or seeking individuals that are more adaptive than the norm.”

Hiring the right candidate can be a minefield for businesses, a staggering 99% of more than 300 SMEs surveyed Robert Half recently admitted to making a bad hire.

Candidates lying on CVs

Complicating matters, more than a third (35%) of surveyed businesses said they hired a candidate who lied on their CV, while 43% said they hired someone who was underqualified.

There’s no shortage of horror stories about candidates that lied on their CVs, earlier this year a senior public servant faced court over allegations she lied to secure a $245,000 salaried position.

Lying candidates aren’t the only issue though, in 43.8% of cases SMEs admitted they incorrectly identified important skills they thought an employee had when they hired them.

Previous research has shown that as many as nine out of ten Australians have error-laden CVs.

The stakes are high. Over a third (38%) of those surveyed admitted to losing productivity as a result of a bad hire, while 42% said it had caused stress for colleagues or managers in their businesses.

Robert Half director Andrew Brushfield said hiring the right candidate is a challenging prospect for businesses, but spending time on due diligence was ultimately worth it.

“Having an efficient recruitment where hiring managers ask the right questions, thoroughly test skills and check references meticulously are all crucial elements to recruit the right person for the job,” he says.

Responding to a bad hire

Bad hires were also found to have lowered staff morale, driven up recruitment costs, increased workloads and even caused a loss of business opportunities.

“Employers should regularly review their hiring policies to ensure they meet company standards and is tailored to changing marketing,” Brushfield says.

The survey found that 44% of employers prefer to take a proactive approach when they’ve identified a so-called ‘bad hire’, developing training programs to assist workers with getting up to speed.

However, 39% admitted to terminating an employee’s contract and going back to the hiring drawing board.

Hughes advice for avoiding a bad hire is to remember to think about cultural fit as well as skills.

“It can be tempting to believe that any pair of hands will be of benefit, but getting the cultural fit right as well as the skills fit cannot be underestimated,” she says.

“Taking the time and building your networks to identify like-minded individuals pays off in the long term.”

NOW READ: What we learned when we asked the experts: how do you get – and keep – the right people in your business?

NOW READ: Four tips for avoiding a ‘bad hire’ and making sure you find the right fit

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Matthew Elmas

Matthew is the news editor at SmartCompany.

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